In this conceptual paper, Diane Gusa highlights the salience of race by scrutinizing the culture of Whiteness within predominately White institutions of higher education. Using existing research in higher education retention literature, Gusa examines embedded White cultural ideology in the cultural practices, traditions, and perceptions of knowledge that are taken for granted as the norm at institutions of higher education. Drawing on marginalization and discrimination experiences of African American undergraduates to illustrate the performance of White mainstream ideology,Gusa names this embedded ideology White institutional presence (WIP) and assigns it four attributes: White ascendancy, monoculturalism, White estrangement,and White blindness.

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